To My Fellow Black With New White Friends

2015-05-07 03:45

Dear fellow Black in Rainbow Land:

Right now I’m guessing that you are in such a euphoric state of being that it’s going to prove very difficult to get through to you. In the Multi-Racial rainbow heaven that you reside in, words like black, white, racist, and apartheid are strictly forbidden – or they just don’t exist at all.

You look at the title of this article and suddenly get annoyed at the mere hint to race or anything race related. Believe me it’s not my intention to embarrass you, since I know well that natives like you switch into panic should a long repressed race matter suddenly explode to the surface.

What you are living is the envisioned dream of all the generations of black slaves of all complexions and disparities since colonialism after all. Who would have ever thought that slave and master could one day sit on the same table as equals, as so eloquently facilitated by the noble intercessions of the legendary Mandela?

Did it not feel ecstatic on that glorious and memorable day when the rainbow nation was born to cheering nations, as great Nelson Mandela echoed that historical declaration, that oppression shall never again be experienced by one through another?

Twenty one years down the line, I’m guessing you’re living the Madiba fantasy and could never be happier. You look at your blossoming rainbow offspring and are filled with instant pride and gratitude. You probably also live in a multi-racial suburb and often have ‘lekker braais’ with your white neighbours, especially during the Proteas and Bokkes games.

You think South Africa has done well so far, but like your white neighbours, feel crime and corruption are the biggest factors holding the country back. By this I mean you have been sucked so much into white culture that you even share their inherent colonial guilt, and like them, you deal with it by pretending it doesn’t exist.

Just like your venerable white neighbours, you have some strong sentiments against Affirmative Action, and feel as though people should not be airlifted to success but should work their butts off for it, like the way Europeans did when they ‘single-handedly developed/civilised’ this country.

Just like your cherished white neighbours, you think blacks like Julius Malema and Robert Mugabe symbolise the sum of everything wrong with Africa. You feel like such blacks are both backward and impractical with their Pan-Africanist ideology. You openly denounce communism and Nationalisation and see them as a threat to private property, hard work and the spirit of initiative - like your white friends do.

But my fellow black, I’m going to try and point to you a few concerns about your idealistic endeavour which might make you reconsider and wonder if you are indeed living a tangible dream or are simply deluding yourself toward great disappointment.

Over and above the technicalities and moral issues behind colonialism, you will agree with me that whites are generally proud of their culture and heritage. They have been here for centuries but have stubbornly maintained their customs and traditions while learning nothing or very little about native customs or culture.

If we Africans are so engrossed in European culture and language that our languages even begin to sound awkward, who in turn is preserving and practicing our heritage, my fellow African? Are we shying away from our roots because we have been systematically fed with falsified versions of our history by our ancestors’ conquerors? Or are we shying away simply because we are truthfully infatuated with Germanic Culture?

A major problem I noticed with most non-racial blacks is a certain worrying detachment from the reality of the majority. They are so overly enthralled at the fact that they have been included in the inner circle of power that they become ignorant of the fact that the system they serve does not benefit the majority.

Ask your white neighbour, if you could ever muster it, what they think about blacks owning the economy as reflective of population demographics, and you will be surprised at the replies you get. Very few will be realistic enough to say, ‘Look, as whites we are beneficiaries of white supremacy, but we are willing to rectify that adverse imbalance’.

Most whites will therefore admit half of the crime, which can be confusing, if not bewildering. They are willing to admit apartheid was a crime against humanity, but they will not accept responsibility for the effects or reparations thereof. They would rather deteriorate the dialogue into jeers and accuse those who were oppressed of laziness, crime, ungratefulness, entitlement and incompetence.

These are the same people who bask in the shine of Socialist achievement and eat the fruits of communist thinking but still maintain Capitalism is the answer. Lest we forget, it is socialist ideology which freed our nation from the clutches of racist imperialism, not capitalism. Capitalism could never fight for anything except private profits.

Whites make up approximately 10% of the population but they collectively control over 80% of the economy. They are a minority but they overwhelmingly influence the direction of culture in the form of arts, literature, recreation, architecture, fashion, style and even food and nutrition. Was there not much from our heritage which could be incorporated into this rainbow melting pot hence?

Personally I don’t blame Whites for loving and sticking to their culture. They should, as it’s a right enshrined in our overrated constitution. But I also expect us black people to love and practice our culture and heritage, as it has a bright future in our democracy also.

So rather than spend too much time chasing after foreign customs, we should return to the essence of what makes us Africans. We have to revive our languages, our symbols, stories, idioms and arts and crafts. The lexical and phonetic science behind the structure of our Bantu languages is one example of how astonishing our history or heritage actually is.

I know to a black like you who is accustomed to a white life this doesn’t sound all that enticing. You will share amazing joy when newspapers frantically announce the birth of a European royal but have absolutely no time for the monarchs of your own nativity – of your precious but vilified history.

We should never allow ourselves to adore whites to the point where we share their condescending fear of black people - to the point where we look at blacks collectively as suspects or criminals. Sure there are criminals in the black community, but to subsequently brand a large majority of a people who survived extreme odds and still raised you with humane morals as such is simply tragic.

Mandela, whom the western world and democratic blacks like you worship, would be nowhere were it not for African culture. The socialist expansion resuscitated by celebrated activists like Steve Biko, Martin Luther King Jr, Patrice Lumumba and Franz Fanon are deeply rooted in African culture and tradition.

As Africans, we therefore need to take responsibility in the shaping of not just African but human destiny as a whole, since certain people have proved time and again that they are not fit to lead, though they so pigheadedly cling to power. The concept of Ubuntu – I am because you are – should never be forgotten, no matter how ‘civilised’ we think we have become.

We can blame the corrupt government or the unyielding white capital, but what have we, the affected majority, done in the past 20 years to resolve our pressing challenges? Our people are hungry, yet we don’t have our own schools, universities, industries, leisure destinations, publishing houses, media companies, etc. To this day, we still rely on commodities and services privately owned and controlled by the white minority.

Rather than become a collective who resolves issues productively, we have become like a body being pulled apart in all directions by invisible forces, thus accomplishing nothing. I think we need to return to our blackness or Africanism if you will, but do we love ourselves and our roots first and foremost?

(Check Out My Blog on Twitter: @JustSmartRage)

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